Does Vinegar Kill Bed Bugs? Here’s How to Use It

There are several types of vinegar and those that can kill bed bugs should be strong enough to destroy and dehydrate an insect. Most kinds of vinegar contain 90-93% water and the rest is acetic acid thus there is no need to dilute them. In order for it to work, bed bugs must be well soaked in vinegar if you want them dead.

Vinegar can kill bed bugs on contact if it has a significant percentage of acetic acid. Any vinegar with less than 5% acetic acid can not get rid of bugs. However, those that contain more than 6% will work against them efficiently. Therefore, white vinegar kills bed bugs because it contains 7% acetic acid.

For best results, do not mix it with water. Simply fill a spray bottle with straight white vinegar and sprinkle it directly on them. A good amount on them should terminate them instantly. Those that are not covered in the solution will avoid the area because white vinegar can also repel bed bugs instantly.

What Kind of Vinegar Kills Bed Bugs?
What Kind of Vinegar Kills Bed Bugs?

What Kind of Vinegar Kills Bed Bugs?

The strongest vinegar that you can buy contains 30 out of 100% acetic acid. When sprayed on bed bugs, it works effectively by killing and repelling them. It can also be added to laundry to remove bed bug stains on clothes and bedding. During an infestation, bed bugs leave grime on their hideouts and 30% vinegar can help in cleaning up those stains.

During a research case study, 30% percent was sprayed on vinegar at a close range. 85& of them die on contact while the rest dies 5-10 minutes later on contact. Those that were not in contact were immediately repelled from the sprayed area.

When white vinegar was spread on bed bugs, it had an immediate repelling effect on them. However, those doused in it died on the spot while the ones that managed to crawl away died 3-15 minutes later depending on the amount of contact.

Basically, the amount of acetic acid in vinegar is what determines how fast it eliminates bed bugs. When using it, check the volume concentration on the labels. Have it in mind that high levels give the best results.

Therefore, while at the stores, check for concentrations or ask the assistants in case you are not sure about it. In case you are ashamed of your bug issue, just ask about the concentration, you do not have to talk bout your pest DIY issue.

Here is a table of the kind of vinegar that can kill bed bugs and those that cannot:

Kind of VinegarBed Bug Fatality %
White Vinegar85%
Apple Cider Vinegar55%
Balsamic Vinegar65%
Rice Vine Vinegar55%
Red Wine Vinegar75%
Malt Vinegar40%
White Wine Vinegar80%
Sherry Vinegar75%
Table of vinegar that can kill bed bugs

Can apple cider vinegar kill bed bugs?

The percentage of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is 6 percent which is enough to kill bed bugs if they are drowned in it. When there is a serious infestation, you will have to use cider in large quantities. This may not be economical as compared to other solutions that really work.

However, apple cider vinegar repels bed bugs thanks to its harsh smell that irritates insects. It only provides a temporary solution that you cannot count on when the bugs are in large numbers. Deterring bugs means that they may end up in other areas of the house which may escalate the infestation.

Additionally, apple cider cannot be sprayed all over the house when there is a full-scale infestation. It should also not be used in large quantities in bedrooms at night especially if you have pets or young ones in the room. Bed bugs come when we are settled at night and using vinegar on bedding can irritate the breathing systems and lead to continuous sneezing throughout the night.

Apple cider vinegar may also leave stains on white bedding and covers. This can be difficult to wash off yet it is only a temporary solution. Bed bugs will still come back and bite you in your sleep after the strong cider vinegar fades away. If the bed sheets are bright, use white vinegar instead and only spray it on the bed bugs.

Will vinegar kill bed bug eggs?

Vinegar can not kill bed bug eggs since it is not strong enough to burn through the cells. However, the eggs cannot hatch if you drown them in white vinegar. The acidic levels in white vinegar can destroy the egg’s DNA thus normal development will be terminated. This will only happen if the eggs are well covered in vinegar.

If bed bug eggs are submerged in white vinegar, they will die after 6-12 hours. The duration is increased or decreased depending on the strength of vinegar used. For example, rice vinegar cannot kill bed bug eggs while apple cider vinegar can destroy bed bug eggs if they are dipped in it for 12 hours or more.

During our research, a combination of hot water and vinegar for bed bugs was noted to be effective. We mixed 250ml hot water with 125ml white vinegar and sprayed it on bed bugs. Those in direct contact with the solution died on the spot while others were repelled. The solution was also effective in killing bed bug eggs. It was concluded that white vinegar and hot water can kill bed bugs in all their life stages.

75% industrial vinegar can also kill bed bug and their eggs on contact. It is strong and has the ability to dissolve the bug’s outer layers that protects them. However, this should be used carefully since it can discolor some fabrics and furniture. It is advisable to mix it with water in the ratio of 1:3 so that it remains gentle on any surface.  

What can be mixed with vinegar for bed bugs?

Vinegar can also be mixed with alcohol, tea tree oil, or dawn dish soap to kill bed bugs. In some cases, vinegar may react with other chemicals. Therefore, it is okay to test it first before mixing it in large quantities.

A few drops can be used as a test in a clean glass to observe the reaction since some of those DIY solutions can be a potential threat. Additionally, white vinegar in its pure form can be used to kill bed bugs in a carpet. However, you have to test it on a similar fabric if you have mixed it with other chemicals.

For example, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar may be used to get rid of bed bugs. However, this should be done with caution since it can be a threat. It should never be handled with bare hands and any contact with the skin should be washed with lots of water. When the solution is placed in a spray bottle, it can be used to kill bugs successfully.

A mixture of vinegar and baking soda can also be used to remove stains left behind by bed bugs on closets and upholstery. Simply spray the solution on the stains and let it settle before wiping it off. The best way to mix the two is to combine 125ml baking soda with 250ml white vinegar in a spray bottle.